CSAC Bulletin Article

Little Hoover Commission Recommends A Pause in Organic Waste Diversion Mandates

June 15, 2023

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, recently released their findings and recommendations on the implementation of SB 1383. The Legislature passed SB 1383 in 2016 to reduce methane emissions by dramatically cutting the amount of organic waste in landfills. Under this law the state needed to divert 50 percent of organic waste by 2020, and 75 percent by 2025. The Commission found that California fell well short of the 2020 target and predicts the same will be true of the 2025 goal. The report elaborates that local governments are struggling to meet the state’s demands, with over 100 jurisdictions having sought an extension on compliance.

The report contains 12 recommendations, including a temporary pause on the bill’s implementation. The Commission also believes that low-population counties should be exempted from the procurement requirements, as the legislation is not designed for rural California. The state has created limited temporary waivers for some areas. Below are brief summaries of each of the recommendations.


1: The state should enact a temporary pause on SB 1383 implementation while the recommendations in the report are implemented.

2: The state should fund an educational campaign that explains to Californians why the requirements are important.

3: Relevant state agencies should coordinate to prevent conflicting directives and produce consistent and clear guidelines.

4: The Legislature and Governor should require a multidisciplinary team to develop recommendations on how to expand market opportunities for recycled organic waste.

5: The state should reconfigure the relationship between state agencies and local governments to better reflect statutorily required shared responsibility for solid waste management.

6: The state should support near-zero emission vehicles until commercially viable zero emission vehicles are available in the waste sector.

7: The state should permanently exempt counties that produce less than 200,000 tons per year of waste from SB 1383 requirements, including edible food recovery, except to provide options at self-haul facilities for residents to separate their organic waste from their trash.

8: The state should embrace a concept of keeping waste local, and allow communities to be innovative with organic waste solutions.

9: The state should position CalRecycle as an international expert and leader in solid waste management by facilitating exchange visits with other countries, externships inside and outside of government, and field testing the regulations it proposes from these knowledge exchanges.

10: The state should separate edible food recovery from SB 1383 implementation.

11: The state should help lower landfill methane emissions by fixing the small proportion of super-emitters that produce the majority of emissions.

12: The state should conduct the holistic cost-benefit analyses discussed in the report.

You can read the full report here.

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